As we enter the Holy week and enter the Easter weekend which is one of the most important on the calendar, Christians all over the world are preparing to mark the death and celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In Uganda events leading up to the celebration are already in high gear and as usual with some controversies like last Sunday which was Palm Sunday where some Christians in a Kampala church decided to use a white man to act as Jesus to symbolise the grand entrance to Jerusalem.
The incidence has since generated a chorus of rebuttal from sections of the public for the choice of a Whiteman interpreted as ‘Whiteman superiority tendencies’ or modern day colonialism.
Well, that debate is for another day as today we look at other Easter traditions and practices that seem not to be captured in the bible and many have since embraced or should I say jumped on the bandwagon. Easter is a religious holiday, but some of its customs, such as Easter eggs, are likely linked to pagan traditions.
These traditions have been practiced all over the world yet you won’t find them in the Bible, but many cherished Easter traditions have been around for centuries. The most prominent secular symbol of the Christian holiday, the Easter bunny reportedly was introduced to America by the German immigrants who brought over their stories of an egg-laying hare. The decoration of eggs is believed to date back to at least the 13th century, while the rite of the Easter parade has even older roots. Other traditions, such as the consumption of Easter candy, are among the modern additions to the celebration of this early springtime holiday.
THE EASTER BUNNY
The Bible makes no mention of a long-eared, short-tailed creature who delivers decorated eggs to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday; nevertheless, the Easter bunny has become a prominent symbol of Christianity’s most important holiday. The exact origins of this mythical mammal are unclear, but rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs.
Eventually, the custom spread across the world and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.
The egg, an ancient symbol of new life, has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration.
Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular egg-related traditions. The event has no religious significance, although some people have considered egg rolling symbolic of the stone blocking Jesus’ tomb being rolled away, leading to his resurrection. The egg has been commonly seen on cards and ‘Happy Easter’ messages.
Supermarkets and street vendors make a kill during the Easter holidays because of selling Easter Candy. Eggs have long been associated with Easter as a symbol of new life and Jesus’ resurrection. Another egg-shaped candy, the jelly bean, became associated with Easter in the 1930s (although the jelly bean’s origins reportedly date all the way back to a Biblical-era concoction called a Turkish Delight
Although not yet common here in Uganda, the Easter Parade tradition especially in U.S dates back to the mid-1800s, when the upper crust of society would attend Easter services at various Fifth Avenue churches then stroll outside afterward, showing off their new spring outfits and hats. Average citizens started showing up along Fifth Avenue to check out the action.
More info from http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/easter-symbols